Duke 68, Clemson 40 (FINAL): It wasn't always pretty here in Cameron—neither team hit a FG for about five minutes to start the game—but the Blue Devils took control after that and smothered Clemson to remain undefeated.
Quinn Cook finished with a career-high 27 points, doing so on 11-of-15 shooting. Ryan Kelly didn't play in the second half after aggravating a leg injury in the first half.
And yes, walk-on Todd Zafirovski played in the second half. The Crazies chanted "Z-Fence" for Todd, who entered the game near the end, as did Marshall Plumlee.
Clemson finished just 15-of-52 from the field.
Duke 60, Clemson 37 (3:25 , second half): The Blue Devils increased their lead to 23, and Cook has led the offense. He has a career-high 18 points and has been remarkably efficient, making 9-of-11 field goals for 21 points. He's 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the process.
Also, another highlight play: Amile Jefferson recorded a nice steal and was fouled in transition, converting for the 3-point play. The Crazies went absolutely wild, Cook motioned to pump up the crowd and the atmosphere here is buzzing.
Duke 49, Clemson 34 (7:47 , second half): Duke is still leading comfortably, but the most encouraging play of the last few minutes was a Plumlee layup, recording just his second field goal of the game. He is 2-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line.
Still, he has done a lot to contribute while he has struggled to score. He has a team-high 12 rebounds, also adding four assists, a block and a steal. He didn't get an assist for it, but he just set up another bucket—dishing to Cook after a post move, finding him for a jumper.
Duke 44, Clemson 28 (11:10 , second half): First an update on Kelly: He has a right leg injury and is not expected to return tonight.
The Tigers pulled in within 12 with their fullcourt press frustrating Duke. After they stole an inbound, an absolutely livid Coach K called a timeout, clearly not pleased with the turnovers. The press forced one more turnover, with Plumlee giving it away.
Duke was able to open the lead back up thanks to the shooting of Curry. He has found a way to score tonight, even with hands in his face. Cook has been scrappy on the offensive end too—he actually leads Duke with 13 points and has done so on 6-of-8 shooting, pretty notable on a night when both teams have struggled to be efficient on the offensive end.
And, even though Mason has struggled to score (still has just four points), he has four assists and 12 boards.
Duke 34, Clemson 18 (15:47 , second half): Strange development from the beginning of the second half: Ryan Kelly, Duke's leading scorer from the first half, was absent as the second half began. Hairston took his spot on the floor. Kelly returned to the bench a minute or two into the half, but has not returned to the floor.
With eight points in the early going, Clemson has nearly has many points as it did all of the entire last half. Plumlee is still struggling on the offensive end, had it knocked away from him once. He wanted the foul and was frustrated by the no-call.
Duke 25, Clemson 10 (halftime): Duke played tough defense all half and held Clemson to 10 points. Clemson was 3-of-25 from the field (12%). It wasn't pretty for Duke either—the Blue Devils finished 9-of-31 from the field (29%) and just 4-of-9 from the foul line.
The story for Duke is the White Raven, Ryan Kelly. He has 12 points and seven rebounds. Mason Plumlee has grabbed 10 rebounds already, though he has just four points. He should be commended, however, for his two beautiful assists that set up 3-pointers for Kelly and Cook.
Notable halftime stats:
- Clemson 3-of-25 from the field (12%)
- Duke 9-of-31 from the field (29%)
- Ryan Kelly with 12 points and six rebounds.
- Mason Plumlee with four points on 1-of-7 shooting, but with 10 boards and two assists on 3-pointers.
- Blue Devils with just three turnovers.
Duke 16, Clemson 6 (6:43 first half): Chant from the Crazies: "Ryan's winning." He has eight points already, and the Tigers have just six. He entered tonight hitting 50% from long range, he's 2-of-2 tonight.
He has been consistently stretching out opposing defenses and exploiting double teams on Mason.
And not much has changed for the Tigers... they are 2-of-16 from the field.
Duke 13, Clemson 6 (9:41 first half): Hey, these teams remembered how to score! Plumlee scored Duke's first point, hitting 1-of-2 from the line and that seemed to open the floodgates for both teams.
Cook started off with a pretty back door lay in. The loudest the Crazies got was on an alley-oop slam thrown home by Plumlee, but the big-man did more as a passer than scorer to get things going. Twice he had the ball in the post and found guys for open 3-pointers. First he found Kelly, then he found Cook. If teams are going to collapse on him, that's what he has to do. He showed great vision on both of those dimes. Plumlee also has six rebounds already.
Devin Booker highlighted the limited Clemson offense with an emphatic dunk.
Duke 0, Clemson 2 (15:05 first half): That's right... Duke hasn't scored.
If you want to know anything about the first few minutes of play, know this: Devin Booker scored the game's first points with 17:37 to play. Mason Plumlee started the game an ugly 0-of-3 from the field, Kelly is 0-of-2 and Curry is 0-of-3. The team as a whole is 0-of-9 and 0-of 3 from 3-point range.
'Sheed had two free throw attempts. He missed both.
It's not as if the Blue Devils have been turning it over much—they have just one turnover in the first five minutes. They just aren't hitting shots.
Things aren't much better from Clemson, they haven't hit a field goal either. The game's lone points have come on two Devin Booker free throws.
Pregame: Welcome folks, thanks for tuning in with Duke basketball set to tip off against Clemson at 7:02 p.m. tonight.
Duke: G Quinn Cook, G Seth Curry, G Rasheed Sulaimon, F Ryan Kelly, F Mason Plumlee
Clemson: G Rod Hall, G Adonis Filer, F Milton Jennings, F K.J. McDaniels, C Devin Booker
Check back here for live analysis throughout the game and follow @dukebasketball on Twitter for instant updates. Here are some pregame observations:
- According to basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy, Duke has a 95% chance at winning this afternoon, projecting a 73-54 score.
- The spread on the game in the sports books is Duke (-15.5) with the total set at 131.5.
- Among the funny notes from the Cameron Crazies' cheat sheet tonight: Chant "Trevor's Better" at Devin Booker, whose older brother Trevor played at Clemson from 2006-10. Chant "Puff, Puff, Pass" instead of the usual "Boink, Boink, Pass," at Milton Jennings, who was arrested on marijuana possession charges in November 2012. That was Jennings' third suspension in 13 months.